Xavi Wants Free Agent To Be Barcelona’s New Seydou Keita: Report

Seydou Keita

Getty Seydou Keita in action for Barcelona.

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez wants to bring AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie to the Camp Nou in the summer on a free transfer to play a role similar to the one Seydou Keita performed for the Catalan giants.

Negotiations between Barcelona and Kessie are said to be “very advanced” with the Catalans keen on having six midfielders in the first-team squad for next season, as reported by Sergi de Juan at L’Esportiu.

Barca are already have plenty of options, with Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Gavi, Pedri, Nico Gonzalez and Riqui Puig available, but Kessie has “a profile that does not currently exist in the staff.”

The word from inside the club on Kessie is, “A player like him can do very well for us. We remember that Guardiola had Keita, and that he played many games, also important ones.”

Kessie is known for his physicality, which would help with Xavi’s high press, but is also a highly technical player with an eye for goal. The 25-year-old has five in 20 Serie A appearances this season for AC Milan.

Indeed he does share some similarities with Keita who played a key role at Barcelona despite being mainly a rotation player. The midfielder, who played alongside Xavi at the Camp Nou, ended up making 189 appearances for Barca, winning two Champions League crowns, three La Liga titles, and the Copa del Rey twice.

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Barcelona Set For Midfield Exits?

The arrival of Kessie would leave Barcelona needing to offload some midfielders to make room in the first-team squad. Sergi Roberto and Riqui Puig are the two players at the top of the list when it comes to exits.

Puig continues to spend most of his time on the bench at Barca, despite the arrival of Xavi, and has only one start to his name so far in 2021-22. The Catalans “consider that the best thing for him is to go out and play.”

Roberto is in a slightly different situation as he has been sidelined through injury since December 2020 and is out of contract in the summer. According to Diario AS, Barca have shelved contract talks with the 30-year-old and he has been in touch with LA Galaxy to discuss a potential MLS move.

AC Milan Talk Barca Rumors

Meanwhile, AC Milan sporting director Paolo Maldini has been talking about Kessie and speculation linking the midfielder with a Barca move. Maldini told Mediaset that it’s true the Rossoneri have not managed to extend his contract, as reported by Sport.

“Barça’s interest in Kessie?” he said. “It’s normal, his contract is about to expire and we still don’t have an agreement. The stance is the one dictated by the club, we absolutely will not deviate from it.”

The Catalan giants have stepped up their interest in Kessie recently and have tabled an offer worth €6.5 million a year, as reported by Gianluca Di Marzio. Kessie now needs to make a decision on where he wants to play his football next season but is thought to be keen to get his future sorted as quickly as possible

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